As a device to help the disabled and non-ambulant, the wheelchair has been pretty ubiquitous throughout the ages. But with Nano-Optonics Energy’s Unimo, our go-to device for helping move the disabled gets a definite upgrade. The Japan-based technology company has come up with a tracked, one-seater electric vehicle that looks like a cross between a sofa seat and an all-terrain vehicle.
Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are electric cars that are fueled by hydrogen – and the oxygen in the air – to power their electric motors and are much more efficient than hybrids or battery electric vehicles, and they also emit almost no pollutants at all. Currently, there are very few, if any at all, FCEVs available commercially. But that will change soon, as major carmakers – specifically in Japan – are targeting to make FCEVs available to the public by 2015.
In a bid to promote the environmental effects of electric-powered vehicles, Vietnam’s Energy Conservation Center (ECC) – working under the government’s Department of Science and Technology in Ho Chi Minh City – has partnered with Japanese manufacturers to produce cheap, energy-saving electric motorcycles in Vietnam. Motorcycles are still one of the most popular ways to get around in Vietnam, and the government is hoping to lower energy consumption as well as the pollution levels caused by traditional gas-powered motorcycles with this partnership.
Nissan's Sunderland factory in England has started production of its all-electric car, the Nissan Leaf, last week, marking the first time that the cars are produced in Europe. The car manufacturer has invested almost $640 million in the 30-year-old plant, as well as for the construction of a battery plant, for the production of the car's lithium-ion batteries.
Business management consultancy McKinsey and Company released a study today showing that almost one-third of people in Japan who bought electric cars said that they will never again buy another. It would seem, however, that the reason for discontent is that they were not properly informed about the battery-powered vehicles. The low cost of power, the government handouts, as well as a smooth test drive of the vehicle is what seduced many electric car owners in the country to purchase a model.
Among the numerous prototypes unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show was Toyota’s i-Road, the Japanese manufacturer’s emission-less alternative to inner city driving. The i-Road, a three-wheeled electric vehicle with a cabin that has a “car-like environment”, is just 850mm wide and is designed for easy driving on city streets.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has stated that the Japanese automaker will return to the Le Mans 23 Hours race in 2014 with a new car that continues on the development of the DeltaWing, and award-wining experimental race car. Ghosn made the pledge in Yokohama today at the unveiling of the new worldwide headquarters for Nismo, Nissan's motorsport and performance brand.
With two of Japan’s biggest car manufacturers, turning to a new direction in automobile development with their individual promises to work on pollution and gasoline-free fuel-cell cars that convert hydrogen to electricity, it seems as though purely electricity-run cars are nearing the finish line. After Toyota announced in September last year that it will lessen supply of its electric vehicle eQ minicar, Nissan does the same in December when it said that it will also focus on developing hybrid cars.
At a news conference in Nagoya, Japan, representatives from Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW Auto Group told reporters that they are now in the process of developing a next generation type of automobile battery that will primarily be used for electric cars. Dubbed as the “lithium-air” battery, it is said to be more powerful than the lithium-ion used today in green vehicles. The use of such technology means that for the most part the battery’s energy-making process will be derived from the oxygen in the air.
Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW AG are expected to soon sign an agreement that will see the Japanese auto giant licensing its prized technology used in fuel cell vehicles, according to the Nikkei business daily. Such a deal would be the first time Toyota shares its technology, which it has been independently developing since 1992, with another auto manufacturer.